Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Best of Vancouver!

In 24 hours from now, I will be leaving Vancouver for good. It is very bittersweet since I have fallen in love with this city and I'm very sad to leave. But.. I'm also excited to start a new chapter in Australia in the new year.

I have been lucky to have been able to experience many of the great restaurants during my 2.5 years in this city. I also have people asking where to go and what to do when they visit here. So this is going to be a recap of my favourite things to eat and do in Vancouver. It is NOT a complete list, it is purely the places I have tried and loved. Most of the restaurants are in Kitsilano since that is where we have been living for 2 years!

Let me know what you think in the comments or if I have missed any of your favs. Hope you enjoy!

Top 10 Restaurants for a Nice Night Out:
  1. Maenam - Absolutely delicious Thai food (Try the Chef's menu to get a taste of everything or my favs are the Grilled Thai Sausage & Crispy Rice Salad, 8 spice ling cod & free range chicken curry)
  2. Fable - "Farm to Table" Top Chef Trevor Bird owns the place & is usually there working (try the squash gnocchi and steak frites)
  3. Union - Thai/Vietnamese (try the Nasi Goreng, Cha Ca Fish, Red Curry Tofu & Green Beans)
  4. Vij's - Best Indian in Canada. There will be a 1-2 hour wait, go early and have a cocktail while waiting. It's worth it. (try the lamb popsicles, and everything else, its all friging amazing)
  5. Cafe Reglanade - French Bistro (try marinated salmon app, braised short ribs and 7 hour marinated lamb)
  6. Flying Pig - trendy, comfort food (try the crispy brussels sprouts & short rib macaroni) 
  7. Oakwood - our local spot (try the warm kale salad, beef brisket poutine, tomato-coconut mussels) 
  8. Blue Water Cafe - Really high end seafood in Yaletown (try everything, bring tons of mula)
  9. Nuba - healthy, fresh, lebanese (try the cauliflower, it is AMAZING)
  10. Chewies - Seafood/Oyster Bar (try the seafood pot, oysters & grilled calamari)
Vij's Lamb Popsicles
Top Places for Quick/Cheaper Eats:
  1. The Eatery - Crazy sushi rolls, great atmosphere, live DJ, tons of fun (try the Bob Marley Roll, Paper Crane and Japanese Fortress)
  2. Peaceful Restaurant - As seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (try the Beef Roll and Dan Dan Noodles)
  3. East is East - Indian. Awesome Chai tea samples and appies while you wait (try the Chai Feast, a little bit of everything, the lamb is divine.)
Top Places for a Quick Lunch:
  1. La Taqueria - Authentic Mexican Tacos, 4 for $9 
  2. Smak - Healthy fast food (try the mango salad, butterless chicken and veg green curry)
  3. Go Fish - Fish shop on water by Granville Island (try to Fish & Chips and Salmon Sandwich)
  4. Vij's Railway Express - Indian lunch on the go (check out this clip of me eating the lamb wrap on TV here) 
  5. Aussie Pie Guy - Aussie Meat Pies with a trendy twist (try the pulled pork with coleslaw)
  6. Noodle Box - Southeast Asian Noodles, huge portions (try the Naam with curry/lime/cilantro sauce and spicy peanut noodle box)
  7. Shizenya - Yummy spot with healthy sushi options. All brown rice for the rolls (try the mango california roll)
  8. Hubbub - Delicious sandwiches, you only get to choice the meat, they all come the same. (try the butternut squash/coconut vegan soup and the unreal mint coleslaw) 
  9. Finch's - Unreal sandwiches, see pic
Finch's sandwich
Top Places for Brunch in Kitsilano:
  1. Aphrodites - organic, local, delicious (save room for pie)
  2. Oakwood - Trendy comfort food (try the tuna eggs benny)
  3. Fable - I haven't been here for brunch yet, but heard its great
Top Spots for Dessert:
  1. Rain or Shine Ice Cream - New homemade ice cream with local ingredients (try the Coffee Toffee, but all flavors are amazing)
  2. Bella Gelato - High-end delicious gelato, expect a line
  3. Earnest Ice Cream - Usually spotted at Farmer's Markets... now they have a store
  4. La Casa Gelato - a MUST do, over 518 flavours, always changing too
  5. Lucky's Doughnuts - located in 49th Parallel Coffee, in Kits now too
  6. Cartem's Doughnuts - new spot in Gastown
  7. Aphrodites Pie - they also have gluten free and vegan options
  8. Honey's Doughnuts - adorable spot in Deep Cove, they their signature honey doughnut
Rain or Shine Ice Cream
Top Pick for Vegetarian:
  1. Acorn - Great spot, nice decor (try the cauliflower truffle mac & cheese)
  2. Heirloom - (try the Gnocchi Beets)
  3. Naam - hippy dippy, open 24 hours, veggie comfort food, always have a veg curry special, expect a line (try the Thai Dragon Bowl)

Top Coffee Shops:
  1. Arbutus Coffee - local spot that could not be more cute, they use spaghetti as stir sticks to be environmentally friendly
  2. Wired Monk - great spot filled with glowing screen due to free wifi and lots of outlets
  3. Nelson the Seagull - the most hipster of all hipster coffee shops, bring a scarf and glasses. They even do yoga classes in here during off hours.
  4. 49th Parallel - On Main st and new location in Kits. (try Lucky's doughnuts)
  5. Blaq Sheep - Cute local shop, amazing baked goods

49th Parallel Coffee

Summer Stuff To Do:
  1. Secret Beach Sunset Picnic- not a secret anymore, great quiet spot to read during the day or have a picnic at sunset. End of Trafalgar Street by Point Grey Road in Kits.
  2. Grouse Grind - Awesome hike 2.9 km up a mountain. They call it 'nature's stairmaster' Usually takes people 45mins - 1.5 hrs to complete. Have a beer at the top if you think you have earned it.
  3. Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge - much like the Capilano Suspension Bridge but way less tourists and free! Lots of easy trails to explore too.
  4. Bike around Stanley Park - rent a cruiser or bring your own. 10km of flat pathway around entire park. gorgeous views all the way around.  (try the tandem bike for some extra fun)
  5. Lighthouse Park Walk - cool place to walk around and explore in West Vancouver 
  6. SUP in Deep Cove - Wait for a sunny day with calm water and head down to Deep Cove. You can rent the Stand Up Paddleboard's for 1-4 hours. It is easy to learn and super fun!
  7. Kits Pool - Biggest outdoor salt water pool in Canada, and you can't beat the view.
Stanley Park

Secret Beach

Winter Stuff To Do:
  1. Whistler
    1. Sushi Village - try the SASS roll, spicy agadeshi tofu, box roll, and of course saki margaritas
    2. Satchi Sushi - try the 'cupcakes'
    3. Ingrids Cafe - great lunch spot, homemade turkey or veggie burgers, broccoli salad
    4. GLC - best apres patio spot, try the Chicken T & A w mango pineapple sauce and the waffle fries
    5. Longhorn - awesome apres patio
    6. Dublin Gate - great afternoon live music and fun pub
    7. Cittas - fun pub, say Hi to Jodi 
    8. Amsterdam Pub - another fun little pub, nights here sometimes end with motorboats... 
  1. Tofino
    1. Drive to or from Tofino: Goats on the Roof Market
    2. Coffee: Tuff Beans
    3. Lunch: Tacofino
    4. Dinner: Shelter
Best post surf lunch you will find...
  1. Bellingham
    1. Mount Bakery Cafe
    2. Trader Joes for groceries

Sign that really sums it all up...